Driving on a Suspended License in Missouri
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If you are licensed to drive by the state of Missouri, your driving privileges may be suspended or revoked for numerous reasons. Driving before your license is reinstated is a crime. If you drive when your license is invalid, you may be charged with a misdemeanor, or in some cases a felony.
Reasons for Suspension or Revocation
Your license may be suspended or revoked for certain criminal convictions or civil reasons. For example, it may be suspended if:
- you have certain unsatisfied judgments against you
- you are convicted of stealing gasoline, or
- the state finds you to be incompetent to drive. (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 302.281, § 203.286(1), § 302.281(1).)
You may be required to undergo an examination if the state has reason to believe that you may be incompetent to continue driving. (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 302.281(2).)
Missouri, like many states, has a points-based suspension system. If you accumulate eight or more points on your license within 18 months, your license may be suspended. (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 302.304(3).) If you accumulate 12 points in 12 months, 18 points in 24 months, or 24 points in 36 months, your license may be revoked. (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 302.304(7).)
Your license may be suspended or revoked if the state believes you were driving while your blood alcohol concentration exceeded .08 percent. (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 302.505(1).) In certain cases, if you violated a traffic law and had a certain amount of alcohol in your system, your license could be suspended or revoked. (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 302.505(1).)
Your license may be suspended for many other reasons.
Reinstating Your License
Your license may be suspended or revoked for varying periods of time. You should not drive while it is suspended or revoked. In order to restore your license after your period of suspension or revocation expires, you may need to pay a reinstatement and other fees, or complete other requirements. The reinstatement fee in some circumstances may be $20 or $25, in addition to other expenses. (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 302.281(4), § 302.304(12), § 302.541(1).)
In certain circumstances you may be required to participate in substance abuse traffic offender program. (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 302.304(14).)
Charges for Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License
Driving on a suspended or revoked license is a crime. (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 302.321(1).) If you drive while your license is revoked, you could be charged with a class A misdemeanor. (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 302.340, § 302.321(2).) The maximum penalty may involve a $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail. (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 560.016(1)(1), § 558.011(1)(5).)
You may be subject to an enhanced penalty if you have a certain number of convictions within a 10-year period. (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 302.321(2).) For example, you may be charged with a class D felony for a fourth or subsequent offense of driving after revocation or suspension if you have not had any alcohol-related enforcement contacts. (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 302.321(2).) If other conditions exist, including a prior alcohol-related enforcement contact, you may be charged with a class D felony after fewer offenses. (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 302.321(2).) The maximum sentence for a class D felony may involve a fine of up to $5,000 and up to four years in prison. (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 558.011(1)(4), § 560.011(1)(1).)
Legal Help for Charges of Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License
If you are charged with driving on a suspended or revoked license, consider discussing your case with a lawyer. These are serious charges that come with the possibility of fines or imprisonment. Your ability to stay employed, to continue going to school, to obtain or retain insurance, and carry on with other areas of your life may be affected. While the law provides penalties for driving on a suspended or revoked license, the views of judges and prosecutors in your community toward the crime will also shape your sentence. Only an attorney who is familiar with these charges in your area will be able to provide you with that information.